Image Building & Projection
People generally form their opinion of a stranger within 3 seconds of setting their eyes on the person. Moreover, research has proven that a major part of the message that you communicate is visual. Given these facts, the image you project is the strong force that influences people’s perception.
Top executives need to address some key questions:
Are you projecting the right image?
Does your image have the desired influence on people?
Can people sense your seniority based on your appearance?
Image Management is the ongoing pro-active process of evaluating and controlling the impact of your appearance on others and on yourself. It involves utilizing optimally on a daily basis the resources of clothing, grooming and body language including etiquette. Image Management is not personality development, which focuses only on the self, nor is it makeover or grooming which focus on the outside. It is about managing the “image from the inside out”, creating the right image based on the real self and projecting it based on the role, goal and occasion.
Millions of successful people in different spheres of life – corporate executives, lawyers, doctors, professionals, High Net worth Individuals (HNI), socialites, housewives, celebrity wives and many more recognize that the right image makes people attribute confidence, superior ability and other positive elements to them. It opens doors, giving them access to decision makers, greater success in hiring and salary levels, allowing them to lead satisfied personal, professional and social lives. Hence, rather than leave it to chance, they make a conscious effort to project the right image.
Stay at the very top end of the International Style Scale and that translates to the fully formal, Tailored Style to communicate authority and stability. So, wear suits of the two-button, single-breasted, straight jacket variety. Keep the jacket buttoned when standing, except the lowest button. When seated, leave the jacket unbuttoned. During hot weather, you may discard the jacket and remain in shirt with long sleeves, unless you are in an air-conditioned room. Your visual cues for the attire are uncompromisingly straight lines and angular shapes with not a hint of curves or rounded shapes.
When it comes to colors and contrast, navy blue, dark charcoal and blacks are the ones to choose, with or without pinstripes. Build strong contrast with shirts in whites, creams or pale blues. Leave the breast pocket empty, except for your pen or the company identification badge. This prevents unseemly bulges.
Turn yourself out in crisp, firm fabrics, including gabardines in solids and stripes. When it comes to patterns, they are small and geometric and this rule applies to ties too. The tip of your tie must reach the top of the belt buckle, which should be black preferably. Shoes must be clean and polished without scuffs or smudges. Make sure that socks match the trouser color. In turn, socks, shoes and belt should match.
For women wearing western wear, the same rule of suits, colors and patterns applies. They could wear a coat dress too which is a tailored dress with buttons and tie closures similar to regular wear and it gives a polished look. But the more typical wear is a blouse or a dress shirt with long sleeves. Lightly knotted ties or scarves can be worn with this attire. Pant suits or skirt suits look formal and are the appropriate clothing in western wear. Make sure length of the skirt is mid-knee or longer. When it comes to shoes, go for the medium heel, smooth leather ones with closed toes. Be sure to wear stockings. The idea is to show as little skin as possible. But, take care that stockings are not opaque or of the fish net type.
When it comes to Indian wear, the sari has been made popular by the heads of some of our top companies. A range of colors are accepted, but sticking to small prints and dark colors is right according to our Style Scale for the Indian Woman. Saris worn with neatly pleated pallu are preferable. A small border keeps the sari formal. Understated is the look when it comes to jewelry. It’s fine if you don’t wear any. If you do wear them, stick to the simple stuff with a strand of pearls or a simple chain with nothing flashy, clunky or which jingles. You could wear a bracelet or not, but a watch is a good idea. The rule is to keep to just three items of jewelry or less, finger ring not included. The First and Lasting Impressions you are creating is that you are here to focus entirely on the work. Hair pulled back or neatly combed and left open gives a good, well-groomed look that is very necessary. A clutch or handbag is right with straight lines and firm shapes. Backpacks for laptops are a definite No. Keep makeup to the minimum. Just an unobtrusive lipstick will do or if you choose to have it, a basic foundation and mascara.
When you travel internationally, it pays to take greater care with your attire. You are meeting people of different culture or cultures and dressing right is your way of meeting them half way. When you dress as expected, there is a sense of a shared working relationship between you and your clients or partners. This is not the time to show your personality and uniqueness through attire.
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